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38 Women Graduate with Certificates in Plumbing & Construction

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 14 MARCH 2023: Women have once again proven that they can do any job once considered for men only. Today, 38 women graduated from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) with Certificates in Plumbing and Construction.

The 6 months long courses were conducted in selected rural villages with the expectation to advance the women’s skills and knowledge and help them contribute directly to their families and communities.

The Plumbing and Construction courses were among together with other courses such as Anger Management & Responding to Domestic Violence, Counseling, Language, Literacy and Numeracy.

From 82 that graduated, 23 women were awarded with the Certificates in Plumbing and 15 with Certificates 1 in Construction.

Australian High Commissioner acknowledges women’s achievement in Samoa
Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, HE Emily Luck congratulated the graduates saying education is the key to a future of many opportunities and a diversity of options.

“Today marks the next chapter of your personal and professional lives,” she said.

She referred to the celebration of the International Women’s Day last week and noted the Samoa stance as an exceptional example with a wealth of accomplished women in the public and private sector including many in prominent leadership roles.

“Samoa truly sets a high standard for the rest of the world and the significant number in trailblazing in Samoa is a testament to what happens when we work together to provide opportunities for people of all genders to thrive,” said Emily Luck.

She said the achievement for women in Plumbing and Constructions is a reminder that women’s triumph should be celebrated every day.

She also said it should be a reminder that there are no barriers to what women can pursue if given access to skills.

“Through APTC, Australia is proud to help Samoa gain skills that create more pathways for sustainable livelihoods and the skill training offered reflects the need to give more chances to women to take up trades training remain a priority for Australia and APTC.”

Retired public servant heads for a career in Construction
A retired public servant, Lealafale Tugaga does not consider retirement as the end of one’s career.

She retired 3 years ago after serving in the Ministry of Women, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Samoa Airport Authority (SAA).

APTC tugaga
APTC tugaga

Construction Course graduates Shelley & retired public servant Lealafale Tugaga.

The Construction Course includes 8 papers and Lealafale is excited about completing her first paper and is looking forward to completing the rest.

“The remaining papers include a surveying course, drafting, designing and planning and I can’t wait for the next course to start,” she said.

Lealafale said she has always admired women in the engineering field and what motivates her to take up construction.

Second opportunity at learning
Twenty one year old Vili Sanerivi Vaimagalo of Nu’usuatia, Safata abandoned her IT course with the CISCO program at the National University of Samoa (NUS) when her parents could not afford her fees.

She then took a job as a salesperson and never thought of education again.

Vili Sanerivi Vaimagalo
Vili Sanerivi Vaimagalo

Vili Sanerivi Vaimagalo with APTC Interim Executive Director Nicki Baird & Australian High Commissioner to Samoa Her Excellency Emily Luck.

However, she was presented a second chance when APTC conducted their awareness program at Safata and Vili was one of the two young women selected to participate in the 6 months Certificate in Plumbing course.

“At first I was not interested but what got me is a whole different skill set provided by the program and I realize the truth in my father’s words that there ‘will be another chance for me at learning,” said Vili.

She is now ready for her Diploma Course and will take it from there on.

A mother’s pride
Twenty year old Mele Sharlene Tanuvasa of Nofoalii is one of 15 women who graduated with Certificate 1 in Construction.

Her mother, Soifua Tanuvasa accompanied her at the graduation and spoke proudly f her daughters’ achievements.

APTC Soifua Tanuvasa
APTC Soifua Tanuvasa

Proud mother Soifua Tanuvasa with daughter Mele Sharlene Tanuvasa.

“She is my youngest child and she has taken on a course I believe is meant for men only. I am very proud of her achievement, and I am ready to support her,” said Soifua Tanuvasa.

APTC Interim Executive Director Nicki Baird delivered the closing remarks and acknowledged all the graduates.

“APTC is proud to support your learning journey and today’s event is the celebration of your hard work and success,” said Nicki.

Both Nicki and HE Emily acknowledged their consultation with the Nuanua ole Alofa (NOLA) and various other stakeholders who helped identify the skills needed that APTC provided the training.

APTC nola
APTC nola

Len Tyrell of Nuanua o le Alofa accepts his Certificate in Anger Management.